When it comes to choosing the right men’s socks, all too often we’re preoccupied with color and pattern choices. We’re primarily concerned with whether the socks will be the right color for a particular outfit, or whether the pattern will clash with the suit we’re planning to wear.
While these are important factors, it’s equally important to choose the right sock material — and for a variety of reasons. Sock fabric can determine whether a pair of socks will last for many months of wear, or start fraying or tearing right away. In addition, sock fabric plays a huge part in how well a pair of socks cling to and cushions your feet. In some cases, poor quality sock fabric can even be detrimental to your health and wellbeing.
Men’s socks are made of cotton, wool, or synthetic materials such as polyester, rayon, nylon and spandex. Socks can be made of one type of fabric, or a mix of fabrics — such as a poly/cotton or poly/rayon blend, or a blend of wools and cottons.
Thanks to the development of high-quality synthetics, today’s polyester/rayon/nylon/spandex blends are used by some of the best sock manufacturers in the world. Here’s a look at why these fabrics are considered by many to be superior to cotton and wool.
• Durability: As a sock fabric, polyester is much stronger and more durable than cotton or wool. This means that polyester socks don’t just last longer; they also hold their original shape better.
• Absorbency: Polyester dries much more quickly than cottons and wools, and is non-absorbent, so your feet will remain drier, too.
In addition, polyester holds color better, so your socks won’t fade as quickly. Plus, a high-quality polyester blend (such as 32s/1 polyester) will be wonderfully soft — even softer than cotton and merino wool.
• Durability: Like polyester, rayon is super durable.
• Breathability: Rayon is exceptionally breathable, as well as absorbent.
• Softness: Rayon looks and feels incredibly soft and silky, and has a lustrous sheen.
• Colorfastness: Unlike some wools and cottons, rayon holds color very well and resists fading.
The best socks combine a blend of both polyester and rayon. This combination provides superior strength and durability from both materials, plus super-quick drying capabilities (from polyester) and superior absorbency and breathability (from rayon).
• Stretchability: Unlike cottons and wools, nylon has incredible stretchability and elasticity.
• Strength: Nylon’s well-known tensile strength produces socks that are more resistant to tears and abrasions — plus, nylon helps resist heat, molds and mildew.
• Elasticity: Spandex is famed for its stretchability; and just a touch of Spandex produces socks with superior elasticity for exceptional comfort and fit.
For many years, specific sock materials were marketed and recommended for certain lifestyles and activities; but thanks to improvements in synthetic fabrics, this is no longer the case. Here, at a glance, are six reasons for choosing high quality polyester socks, for both career and casual wear.
In the past, cotton was touted as the best fabric for certain types of socks (such as athletic and gym styles), but in recent years, manufacturers have developed synthetic fabrics that are superior to cotton in terms of breathability and ventilation. Cotton has a tendency to trap sweat, which can lead to foot odor and irritations; but today’s improved synthetics are superior at pulling moisture and perspiration away from the skin.
Wool has long been touted as a superior fabric for dress socks; but today, some of the best dress socks are made of superior quality polyester. One problem with wool is that it preserves heat — which makes it an unfortunate choice if you’re looking for a pair of breathable, cool dress socks. The best synthetic blends of polyester, rayon, spandex and nylon are made of cutting-edge fabrics that have been specifically developed for improved breathability and ventilation.
As we mentioned earlier, polyester, rayon and other synthetics are famed for their tensile strength and durability. Thanks to these properties, polyester socks are far more durable and long-lasting than cotton or wool socks.
Synthetic fabrics are significantly more lightweight than cottons and wools — and that’s a comfort advantage for your feet. Whether you’re walking around an office or running a marathon, you don’t want to be impaired by stuffy, hot, heavy socks dragging you down. Plus, as athletes have found, polyester doesn’t bunch up like cotton does. For cool comfort and smooth stretchability, nothing beats today’s synthetic sock fabrics.
Cotton and wool socks have one thing in common — they don’t dry quickly. Once they get wet, they stay wet for a long time, and it seems to take forever to get a pair of cotton or wool socks to dry out. High quality polyester socks, on the other hand, dry extremely quickly. This means that if you step in a puddle or tend to sweat a lot your polyester socks will get dry in no time. Otherwise, your feet will be wet for hours — and we all know how uncomfortable that can be.
If you’re looking for a huge range of styles and designs, polyester wins hands down. One reason is because polyester and rayon both take dyes exceptionally well, and are famed for their colorfast, fade-resistant properties. Just spend 10 minutes shopping for a pair of socks, and you’ll find that synthetics offer the widest variety of patterns and colors for both career and casual wear.
One great way to take the guesswork out of sock shopping is to invest in a sock of the month club. The best men’s subscription boxes feature top quality polyester socks made from superior materials — such as 32S/1 polyester blended with viscose rayon, then topped off with a touch of nylon/spandex for stretchability. A top-notch sock subscription box will also offer socks in a range of hard-to-find colors and patterns that will go with virtually anything in your wardrobe.
If you’re looking for breathable, cool socks that are made for comfort and durability, you can’t do better than invest in high quality polyester socks. Whether you prefer bold, bright designs or subtle solid shades, polyester offers a huge range of styles to suit your taste. When it comes to comfort and value, just be sure to look for quality materials and construction to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth. With all they have to go through, your feet deserve only the very best.
Is 61% cotton/38% poly/1% spandex a good combination for athletic socks?
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October 17, 2019
Hi Ken, depending on the quality of the fabrics used that could be a pretty good athletic sock blend. However, increasing the polyester % and reducing the cotton % may achieve a more durable and better fitting/performing sock overall. For great athletic socks, checkout https://www.strideline.com/